Turkey joining EU ‘not remotely on the cards’ - Cameron tells Brexit grilling

Turkey joining EU ‘not remotely on the cards’ - Cameron tells Brexit grilling
British Prime Minister David Cameron said the prospect of Turkey joining the EU was “not remotely on the cards” during a ‘Question Time’ session about the Brexit referendum in the House of Commons Liaison Committee.

The UK leader appeared to be backtracking on his position surrounding Ankara’s membership of the 28-nation bloc when he stated that Turkey will not join the EU “for decades”.

That compares to a speech Cameron delivered in Ankara six years ago shortly after becoming prime minister, in which he appeared to be in favor of Turkey’s membership.

In 2010 he said: “I will remain your strongest possible advocate for EU membership and for greater influence at the top table of European diplomacy. My view is clear I believe it is just wrong to say that Turkey can guard the camp, but not be allowed to sit in the tent.”

Cameron was appearing in front of the parliament’s Liaison Committee to answer questions on the upcoming Brexit referendum on June 23.

The EU pushed forward plans to grant Turkey visa-free travel to Europe for its part in trying to reduce the high amount of refugees and migrants crossing over to European shores.

For nearly two hours, the Conservative leader was grilled on Scotland’s role in the EU should the UK choose to leave and what it could mean for citizens from other EU countries who receive welfare from the UK.

Below is a blow-by-blow transcript of the Wednesday hearing.

  • 04 May 2016

    16:45 GMT

    David Cameron said Turkey’s membership in the EU was “not remotely on the cards” and would take decades to happen.

  • 16:38 GMT

    Keith Vaz asked the prime minister if his government should have done more to address the issue of foreign national prisoners in the UK.

    “If we were to leave, we would take several steps backwards,” Cameron responded.

  • 16:33 GMT

    The SNP’s Pete Wishart asked David Cameron if Scottish people were misled in regards to the referendum. “My position is that this is a United Kingdom issue,” David Cameron said.

    Asked what the PM’s message is to the Scottish people. David Cameron said, “The message is, we’re safer, stronger, in.”

  • 16:21 GMT

    The committee said David Cameron’s views of security in the EU have changed. The PM said NATO is where the “cornerstones” of security are.

  • 16:06 GMT

    David Cameron: "Can we get better arrangements than we can now? And the answer is no.”

  • 15:52 GMT

    Cameron disagreed with William Cash on issues such as welfare payments to members of other EU countries and said, “Let’s not argue that we are doing all these things on a false perspective.”

    On security and sharing data with other EU countries, the Prime Minister said some things would be difficult if the UK left. “I think it would be a great danger to leave these bodies (Interpol), if we left.”

  • 15:42 GMT

    When asked if the EU is the “right package for us” by the committee, David Cameron said remaining “wouldn’t solve all of the EU’s problems” but on negotiations, the Prime Minister added that he had wanted to continue with them before holding the referendum.